After a couple of excellent Premier Girls semi-finals at NSEC it is traditional rivals Auckland Girls Grammar and Mt Albert Grammar that will match up in the Grand Final next Friday.
Mt Albert led all the way against Westlake Girls to win 76-59 but AGGS were tested to the end by Rangitoto College before winning 79-77.
A terrific semi-final between Auckland Girls Grammar and Rangitoto College went down to the wire before the regular season champions, paced by Elianna Tuaiti (26 points) and Heeni Blakey (22 points), prevailed 79-77.
Rangitoto, very well served by Hannah Wentworth (22 points) and Aroha Rogers (25 points), made the slightly better start leading 21-18 at quarter time.
Blakey stepped up the scoring in the second quarter – she had a dozen points in the period, including a couple of threes, as AGGS led 41-31 at half-time.
Rangitoto made the better start to the second half, Wentworth and Rogers making a pair of threes apiece, to give Rangi a 48-44 lead. Bella Elgar chipped in with a trey but the defending champions finished the quarter strongly through Laetitia and Elianna Tuaiti to lead 60-54 with ten minutes to play.
Mele Latu scored inside with finesse to push AGGS out to a double figure lead, Tyla Tuala making it 73-62 with 3 minutes to play.
Rangi were not finished as Wentworth and Gracie Hasler-Ewins cut the deficit to three points (75-72) with thirty seconds to play.
The composed E Tuaiti made an important free throw but Aroha Rogers made her seventh three of the game to keep the AGGS fans on edge.
Tuala converted one of two free throws and that was just enough to maintain the AGGS lead and a fifteenth straight win.
AGGS 77– E Tuaiti 26, H Blakey 22, M Latu 11, T Tuala 9
Rangitoto 75– A Rogers 25, H Wentworth 22, I Elgar 9, M Spooner 6
It was third time lucky for Mt Albert Grammar School. Having lost both regular season games to Westlake Girls they won their semi-final encounter 76-59 with Sharne Pupuke-Robati powering her way to a game high 32 points.
It was one way traffic early on as MAGS established a commanding 24-8 lead in the opening ten minutes – Pupuke-Robati quickly into double figures, Jada Manase not far behind with seven.
Emme Shearer, on her way to a season best 27 points, scored a dozen in the second stanza but Tessa Talo-Tomokino and Pupuke-Robati took MAGS to a 41-24 half-time lead.
The scoring slowed in the third period. The two teams split 22 points – a Shearer triple taking her tally into the twenties.
Moanekah Va’ai took the MAGS lead to twenty (63-43) but just when it looked as if the Lions would saunter to victory Westlake made a run.
Jess Moors led the revival with six straight points and aided by scores from Piper Manolas, Mareta Davidson and Shearer the deficit was down to ten points.
A triple from Manase plus scores from Raykesha Fiatau and Pupuke-Robati snuffed out the Westlake revival to set up a repeat of the 2017 final.
Westlake 59– E Shearer 27, J Moors 10, M Davidson 8, P Manolas 8
Mt Albert Grammar 76– S Pupuke-Robati 32, T Talo-Tomokino 14, J Manase 12, R Fiatau 9, M Va’ai 8